Our fifth little boy Rush was born with a cleft palate and a cleft lip. It was a big shock to us as we have four other healthy boys and never expected the fifth to have any special needs or differences. We’ve learned a lot since we found out about his cleft. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves, managing life’s expectations, and then also how to care for and what to expect for a child with a cleft. As we go through our journey I want share what we learn and our experiences so that we can help to normalize differences and also to help other parents in our same situation. Today I’ve got a lot to share from Rush’s birth up through his first six weeks of life. I’m calling this post Cleft 101 because I’m trying to share in the simplest of terms, everything I have learned about having a baby with a cleft lip and a cleft palate.
Feeding with the NAM was a little bit of a new thing, but Rush picked it up pretty quickly. He actually can’t eat without it now! We still use a bottle and the fake palate even helps him eat. We also have to be careful with how we hold him because of the part that sticks out of his mouth. It reminds me of a sucker stick sticking out of his mouth. We have to hold him so that he doesn’t bang it because it hurts us and him. I’m looking forward to him having more neck control for that very reason.
One great discovery was finding that Rush can use and likes a binkie. We have to hold it in for him, but we really likes using it to sooth in combination with wearing the NAM. Having a soother for him has been such a relief!